In customer clinics, drivers and operators noted how efficiency plays an even bigger role. The new steering wheel, dashboard and instrument cluster are immediate talking points.
The first impression inside the cab is one of comfort and functionality. Some comment on subtle improvements to the driver’s seat, while improved storage areas are on everybody’s checklist.
It’s important to keep everything calm inside
Planning to last
Louise Karlsson and Malin Gabre are product planners. It seems fitting to discuss the interior design of the new cab with them here – in a room flooded with daylight. We are inside the building where the first Volvos were once built.
“Above all, drivers need to see well and sit well to do a good job,’’ begins Malin Gabre, before her colleague continues. “This is why we work hard on visibility and reach: the controls you use all the time must be easy to reach, for short and tall drivers.” As the Volvo FMX cab sits low on the chassis, climbing in and out of the truck is relatively easy.
See what you need to see
The instrument cluster puts vital information where the driver can see it at a glance, while less frequently used controls are further away. The Secondary Information Display is now integrated in the new instrument panel – which was previously a pop-up model. Louise Karlsson explains the reason for a pure and clean design, “It’s important to keep everything calm inside the cab so the driver can concentrate on what’s happening outside. Drivers who have driven the new truck have confirmed that visibility is now even better.”
Put your best buttons in the best places
Many technical improvements come from the new Volvo FH. Such as the flexible switches that let the driver choose which functions are closest to the steering wheel. “This lets you rearrange them if you have some special way of working that we couldn’t foresee,” says Malin Gabre.
At one with the wheel
Several functions have moved from the stalks to the controls embedded in the steering wheel. Here they are logically grouped according to their functions and easy for fingers to find them. According to Louise Karlsson, the new design is also good for tired arms: “The new steering wheel has plenty of grip alternatives, so the driver will always find one that’s comfortable. Together with Volvo Dynamic Steering, which takes the strain out of steering, this really improves ergonomics for the driver.”
A better place to work
“We’ve thought a lot about the cab in terms of a workplace. It’s the place drivers spend most of their time – and where they keep all their things. So there’s a new storage space beside the driver’s seat for paperwork and a much better compartment on the side of the door. This is spacious but doesn’t get in your way when climbing in and out,” says Malin Gabre.
The new cab has countless details to make life easier. Such as a bigger birdbath on the dash with a pen holder, a place to keep a phone and a USB socket set back in a recess. “We even have a fold-out bottle-holder with enough room for a 2-litre PET bottle – in case the driver is thirsty,” adds Malin Gabre.